Great Rides: Exhibition Drive & Beveridge Track Combo
This week we have a guest-post by Clare, who prised her boys away from the computer long enough for a family bike ride over the easter break.
Clare’s the Energizer-Bunny of our neighbourhood. If she’s not running past my house at high-speed she’s mountainbiking, riding trail-bikes or thundering off to work on a big orange motorbike. How’d you like to have a mum that cool?
Easter Holidays Adventure
We were looking for a wheeled adventure to try out the eldest’s new bike, an adult sized 29er, and stumbled upon the Exhibition Drive + Beveridge Track route on the Auckland MTB site as a fun 90 minute/12km bimble with ice cream at Arataki Visitor Centre in the middle.
Beveridge Track is named after the 20-year head Waitakere ranger, Bill, his father Joe (who worked in the early years of the development of the Ranges water supply), and Bill’s wife Joan, who passed away soon after Bill in 2010.
So after a 35 minute drive from the North Shore, we arrived at the carpark on the junction of Scenic Drive and Woodlands Park Road, just outside Titirangi.
There’s parking for a dozen cars and Exhibition Drive starts right beside the water reservoir as shown above. It’s a shared use trail, so you’ll be sharing it with parents with pushchairs, folks out dog walking, trail runners and other adventurous types.
Exhibition Drive is a gentle grade most of the way, slightly uphill from Scenic Drive to where it joins the Beveridge Track at Mackie’s Rest.
There are lots of great information panels & points of interest to stop at as you walk or ride.
Once you get to the end of Exhibition Drive, you’ll need to turn right for the Beveridge Track. Take some time to look at the views from Mackie’s Rest and read the history – Legend has it that in the late 1800′s a trader named Mackie used this place to rest on his journeys into the ranges. In 1912, the Auckland City Council built a shelter there, and a local farmer, Marshall Laing, added a bench bearing the inscription “Stop. Mackies Rest”.
Once you get onto the Beveridge Track, it is narrower and you’ll need to keep your eyes open for walkers, runners and other cyclists coming the other way.
Just before you get to Arataki, there is a steep-ish, switchbacked 200m climb up onto the ridgeline, which may require some short legs to get off and push their steeds up – but don’t worry, there’s an awesome reward of views of the Waitamata and Manukau harbours and a picnic table at the top!!!
From the picnic table, it’s only about 500-600m of easy undulating gravel track to Arataki Visitor Centre, more views, secure bike parking (if you brought your lock!) and Danish Ice Cream!!!
Once you’ve had your fill of ice cream, views and Arataki, it’s time to turn around and head back down the way you came – making the most of the downhill gradient where possible. There is a sign requesting cyclists to dismount going down the switchbacks, but most people seemed to ignore this, so with a quick chat to the team about taking it slow because it’s narrow, steep and other people could be coming up, I let them go and work it out for themselves. They did me proud – pulled over to the side to let a trail runner have track space for his run up & he commented on their great bike control!
Once past the switchbacks the track is gently downhill all the way back to Exhibition Drive – so you can take it as slow or as fast as you like. Total time for these two petrolheads – 1hr 20mins.Thanks Clare for the great write-up and photos, I’m now champing-at-the-bit to pedal those trails with my family. – Antoine
We’re very happy to publish ride-reports like Clair’s and they don’t have to be this comprehensive. I can see by the search-terms used to find this site that Aucklanders are hungry for safe places to ride, especially with children. Drop me an email from the BFNS Contact Page if you’re keen.